Despite our country’s many flaws I am proud to be an American.  And you better believe that I am proud to be from North Carolina. 

I love North Carolina to the point of being hokey. When I got married a couple of months ago, my wife mentioned this fact in her vows (we both wrote our own) as something that she appreciated about me.  Which I thought was pretty cool. 

But my love for NC is not blind.  Even if I didn’t watch News 14 Carolina and read the newspaper most days, it would still be hard to escape the problems our state faces with budget deficits, high unemployment and political tensions.  In fact, the recognition and acknowledgment of the many social, financial and environmental challenges, and a belief that it is possible to affect positive change, all keep me plugging away each day. 

For the past four months, I have been working as the Northwest Regional Associate for NCCF.  Growing up in Stokes County and graduating from East Surry High School, this region feels like home.  I’ve pretty much worn this line out but I can’t help but remember long rides on the high school activity bus travelling to football or baseball games every time I drive to Yadkin County.  Or Wilkes.  Or Alleghany. 

The folks that I get to meet and work with are proud of their communities.  Proud of the work they have accomplished to bring folks together to make a difference.  Proud of their community assets—like the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center; proud of their innovative approaches to education—like the Youth in Philanthropy initiative in Wilkes County; proud of the ways in which young people are being provided opportunities for higher education—like the annual Avery County Scholarship Golf Tournament.

I am proud to be a part of an organization that is working with folks across the state to improve the quality of life for the people of North Carolina. 

As we break out the grills, the cold drinks and the fireworks (which, if you have the good kind, were not purchased in our great state) let’s allow some of that American pride to trickle down to the local level.  Be proud of the young servicemen and women from your community, proud of the scholarship recipients at the local high school, proud of the playground your church helped build and proud of the hard work and dedication of the nonprofits serving folks in need. 

We have a lot of obstacles to tackle both big and small.  But we also have a lot to be proud of. 

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    I just love this hoodie.

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